The Rev. Bill Sasso, President, two year term, expiring 2015
Rev. Bill Sasso currently serves as President of the Central Midwest District, and has served on the CMwD Board since April, 2011. A graduate of Meadville/Lombard Theological School, he retired from congregational ministry in June, 2012, after serving as Minister of the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship for 13 years. During that time, Bill also served as Vice-President of the CMwD UUMA Chapter, and as President of the Carbondale Interfaith Council. Bill and his family reside in Carbondale, Illinois.
Charlotte Preston, Vice President, two year term, expiring 2015
Charlotte Preston joined the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church (Mahtomedi, Minnesota) in 1993. She has served on its Board of Directors and was its President when it became a mid-sized congregation. As a lay leader, she has focused on outreach – serving as a point of contact for the press and launching WBUUC’s Facebook page, for which she is a site administrator. As a member of the Prairie Star District Board, Charlotte has been chair of Linchpin, an effort devoted to communication about regionalization. Professionally, Charlotte owns a small business which operates in the context of the global jewelry industry, via trade shows, group management, and private clients. Charlotte and Mary, partnered since 1984, have a young adult son who lives and works in Minneapolis.
Eric Huffer, Secretary, three year term, expiring 2016
I am very excited to be a candidate for Secretary of the Mid-America Region Board. I hope to be able to serve our vibrant and amazing collection of congregations, as we continue to work to be that beacon of love and justice in the world. I have been in a number of leadership roles in my current church home, Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, where I have served as President for two terms, plus another two years as a Board member. I have chaired our Worship Associates Committee and Nominating Committee, as well as led and facilitated our covenant groups for a year. I am currently serving on the Heartland District Nominating Committee. I have been a delegate at numerous Heartland and General Assemblies, and have been a covenant group facilitator at two GA’s. As a result of my covenant group facilitation experience, I value listening and tend to work to facilitate discussion when in a meeting. I think this has served as a useful trait in any of the positions I have held, and believe it would be an asset in my service on the Board. Thank you for this opportunity to serve our Region.
Tom Sommerfeld, Treasurer, three year term, expiring 2016
Tom Sommerfeld was born in Ann Arbor, MI, in July of 1948. He grew up in Ann Arbor; Stillwater, OK; and Chapel Hill, NC. Following high school, Tom returned to Ann Arbor where, in 1974, earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and met his wife, Elinore, who has been his life partner for nearly 40 years.
Tom retired from a career as a data communications specialist with the Railroad Retirement Board in Chicago in January 2000, and has been a “professional volunteer” ever since. Since moving from suburban Chicago to the Northwoods of Wisconsin in 2003, Tom has been a volunteer on-air program host on WXPR, the local Public Radio station; board member and treasurer of a local performing arts group; a volunteer at the local public library; and a poll worker for elections.
After years of being un-churched, Tom and his wife, Elinore, discovered Unitarian Universalism in 1999 and joined the DuPage UU Church in Naperville, IL, in 2000. Tom was a member of the choir and vice-chair of the Music Committee. Following the move in 2003, Tom has served as volunteer music director of Northwoods UU Fellowship in Woodruff, WI, as well as 7 years as treasurer of the fellowship. Tom and Elinore have been frequent delegates from NUUF to CMwDA and to GA.
Kathy Burek, Trustee-At-Large, one year term expiring in 2014
Kathy Burek is currently the President of the Prairie Start Board of Directors. During her 30-year membership at Michael Servetus Unitarian Society (Fridley, MN), Kathy Burek has served on its Board of Trustees, as its President, and in a variety of lay leadership roles. She served as Vice President of the PSD Board. In that capacity, she has worked on PSD Governance and strategic planning, and also chaired the Program Council. Kathy has assisted District Staff in developing a strategic plan for growth for the district. In addition to her PSD work, Kathy serves on the Board of Trustees for the UUA Health Plan, and was its chair from March 2007-December 2008. Professionally, Kathy is an independent consultant and facilitator, focusing on strategic planning and organizational design. She is married and has three adult children.
Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Landrum, Trustee-At-Large, two year term expiring 2015
Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Landrum is in her ninth year as the minister of the Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty in Clarklake, Michigan, and lives in Jackson, Michigan with her husband, Peter Morrison, who teaches art history and her daughter, who is in grade school. Outside of ministry, she has previously taught English and composition at the local community college, is involved in many community organizations, is a Girl Scout troop leader and troop organizer, and is a blogger and occasional writer. For fun she enjoys science fiction, and you may have read her article on The Hunger Games in the UU World. She has previously served congregations in Texas and Massachusetts. Her history in the Heartland District (or its antecedent, the UU District of Michigan) goes back to her childhood, where she grew up in the Birmingham Unitarian Church in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She has experience in Central Midwest District having gone to Meadville Lombard Theological School and served on the CMD board briefly as a student liaison (2000-2001). Her additional experience in the Central Midwest District includes an internship at the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, a year of student ministry each in Marquette, Michigan and Houghton, Michigan, and a summer ministry in Rockford, Illinois. (She has only visited the Prairie Star District, but found it delightful.) Additional experience she brings to the board is a term as President of the Heartland Chapter of the UU Ministers Association; a board role on a local non-profit organization, Family Service and Children’s Aid; and she is currently the Vice President of the Ohio River Group, a minister’s study group.
Dave Martin, Trustee-At-Large, three year term expiring 2016
Dave Martin has been a member of the UU Society of Iowa City for over 30 years. During that time he has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Board Trustee, Treasurer, and Board President. He has taught OWL (Our Whole Lives - sexuality education) classes and been chair of the Stewardship Campaign. He served on the PSD Program Council and has been on the staff of the Midwest Leadership School. Dave is vice president of the Prairie Star District board and has been helping to draft bylaws for regional governance. He is head of the Business Library at the University of Iowa.
Erin McElroy, Trustee-At-Large, one year term expiring 2014
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Erin McElroy has been a life-long member of the Bradford Unitarian Universalist congregation in Kenosha Wisconsin. She has served on the RE Committee of her church as Youth Chair and has been a very active member in planning for her church’s Youth Group. Erin attended the 2012 season of Youth Midwest Leadership School and from there has been putting forth more action in helping out her church. She is currently a junior in High School looking to pursue Music Education.
Amy Taylor, Trustee-At-Large, one year term expiring in 2014
I live in Bloomington, IN. I have been a UU for about 10 years. I am an OWL facilitator. I started my UU governance career on the board of my home church as we transitioned to policy governance. I then joined the Heartland District Board, filling an at-large seat, followed by an election to the Vice President seat and then becoming President, my current position on the district board. It has been personally rewarding to serve our denomination in these positions and to work with such dedicated and capable trustees on the Heartland Board. I have been working with the Prairie Star and Central Midwest Presidents and other members of all three Boards, putting together a proposal to create a MidAmerica Region - Board of Trustees governance structure. The talent, concern and skills these people bring to the work have made it a remarkable and historic process that I am privileged to participate in. I hope to continue for a year on the new Board as a source of institutional memory of conversations that have taken place over the past 3 years so that the new regional board will thrive, moving on to new conversations and work and not have to revisit work that was already done. I am excited about opportunities for us all to create a new era in UU in MidAmerica.
Jamie Boyce, two year term expiring 2015
Jamie Boyce is currently Membership Director at Third Unitarian Church-Chicago, where she has served for three years. Prior to that Position, Jamie was Membership Coordinator for two years at North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, Illinois. Currently she is serving on the Central Midwest District Nominating Committee. In addition, Jamie works in compliance and grants management at AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging for Suburban Cook County. Prior to that, she worked at implementing after school programs in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago.
She received her B.A. from Michigan State University and studied for 4 years at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. In her free time, Jamie loves to travel, explore Chicago's restaurant scene, and attend Kickboxing classes.
Rev. Barbara Child, one year term expiring 2014
Rev. Barbara Child serves as a Ministerial Settlement Representative (MSR) for Unitarian Universalist congregations in ministerial search. She is also a Good Offices Minister to ministers in the Heartland District. She began her working life as an English professor, later practiced and taught law, and became a Unitarian Universalist minister in 1996. An Accredited Interim Minister, she has served congregations in California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Vermont. In addition to a term on the UUA Commission on Appraisal, including two years as its chair, she has served the UUA on the Interim Ministry Guild, one year as its chair; the Commission on Social Witness, four years as its chair; and the Women and Religion Committee. She holds a certificate from the Corporation for Positive Change and often uses an Appreciative Inquiry approach in short-term consultations with congregations on a variety of issues.
Diana DeWeese, one year term expiring 2014
I’ve been a UU for over 25 years. I am currently co-chair of the Central Midwest District Nominating Committee. I am a member of the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation and the Church of the Larger Fellowship. At ALUUC, I have served on several committees and the board of directors. Currently, I am a Religious Education teacher and active in the pagan interest group at ALUUC. I just finished serving six years as a councilwoman of the UU Women’s Connection, a Central Midwest District-wide women’s organization. I served as treasurer, vice-president and president, as well as conference registrar for several of our spring and fall conferences. As a councilwoman I’ve had the opportunity to meet women in UU congregations throughout the district. I have attended several CMD annual assemblies, UUA general assemblies, and winter CMD WomanSpirit conferences. I served on the Planning Committee for the 2005 WomanSpirit on Springfield, Illinois. I have been retired since January 2008. My husband, Kurt DeWeese, is immediate past board president at ALUUC. We have two children. In the Springfield community I am a sustaining member of the Junior League of Springfield, Illinois. Drumming, chanting, sewing, cooking and gardening are what I love to do with “my” time.
Carol Jean Larsen, one year term expiring 2014
Carol Jean Larsen has been an active member of her Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist congregation since the day she joined in 1986. Her passions are leadership development, adult religious education, stewardship, and social justice. She currently is her congregation's Board president. She served on the Prairie Star District Board from 1995-2004 as a director, vice president and president. She served on the PSD's Nominating Committee from 2004-06 and was appointed again in 2012. Carol Jean has retired from two careers: English teacher for 3 years; and 24 years in management positions in state government, private business, and non-profit agency. She is an avid long distance cyclist and hiker as well as an advocate for the environment.
Jim Laughlin, two year term expiring 2015
Jim Laughlin is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City (UUSIC), Iowa. Jim sings in the choir and has served on committees including membership, space, and buildings and grounds. He has been a Worship Associate. He has for three years been on the faculty of the UU Midwest Leadership School at Beloit College. Jim is a retired postmaster who lives on an acreage outside West Branch, Iowa with his wife Barbara, where he raises horses, gardens, paints, cooks, and more.
Tammy Lemmer, two year term expiring 2015
I have been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing (Michigan) for ten years, beginning when I moved to Michigan with my family (husband and two children.) Previously I was a member of First Parish of Framingham (MA) where I was introduced to this welcoming, progressive faith community. I work for a social justice, anti-oppression organization (the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence) and I am very active in community activities.
I have been involved with Children's RE, (including special events and teaching), Journey Towards Wholeness and other Social Action initiatives, and am honored to have served on the Congregation’s Board of Trustees for five years, including the roles of VP for Programs and Secretary. I also served as chair of an ad-hoc Program and Policy Transitions committee that initiated a review and update of the congregation's Constitution and Bylaws, and I currently serve as Chair of the Denominational Affairs Committee. At times I have also served as an usher and a greeter, and lay-lead worship service facilitator.
Within the Heartland District and the larger denomination, I have served as a delegate to District Assembly three times and a GA delegate once. I am completing my first three-year term as a member of the Heartland District Nominating Committee, including two years as Chair of the Committee. My strengths include organizational and policy governance experience, within my congregation and in other personal and professional affiliations. I am detail oriented, and look forward to the opportunity to continue my service to my denomination.
Marty Sozansky, one year term expiring 2014
Marty Sozansky is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth, Minnesota (UUCD), and was formerly (1982-1995) a member of First Universalist Church in Minneapolis. Marty has served her home churches as a member of the Board of Trustees and in several other capacities, including her current passion for History and Archives. She co-chaired the Prairie Star District Conference when it was in Duluth in 2007. Marty has been chair of the Prairie Star District Nominating Committee the past two years. Marty has recently retired from teaching at the University of Minnesota Duluth.